Eelpout Festival Considering Move To Bemidji
After 39 years in Walker, Eelpout Festival organizers are considering a move to Bemidji.
Eelpout officials have submitted an application to Beltrami County for approval of a permit to hold the event on Lake Bemidji in 2018.
Beltrami County Ordinance 43 requires an event as large as the Eelpout Festival to to be granted a permit.
The permit in this situation would be classified as a Tier 2 permit, meaning the event is expected to have between 2,500 and 5,000 persons in attendance.
The Beltrami County Planning Commission will present the application to the county board on Tuesday, October 17.
The Planning Commission will then meet to discuss the application with all parties involved and would then decide on whether or not to approve the application.
The Eelpout Festival was first held on Leech Lake in Walker in February of 1979 and has continued there since then. According to the Eelpout Festival website, the event draws more than 10,000 people to Walker each winter for a fishing tournament in pursuit of the eelpout fish. The festival also includes many other activities beyond the fishing tournament and is regarded as a quirky event honoring one of the ugliest bottom-dwelling fish.
Eelpout Festival organizers are not commenting on the record at this point.